Hotels and holiday lets fully booked as Suffolk's staycation continues
- Credit: HANNAH GLENNON
Tourism bosses in east Suffolk say there is not a bed to be had during the summer holidays, as holidaymakers choose to stay in the UK rather than head abroad.
Hoteliers and rental companies say that they are fully occupied throughout the summer and going into autumn.
The government's traffic light system of restrictions for international travel currently prevent people from visiting certain foreign destinations, while meaning people returning from others may have to quarantine.
Best of Suffolk is a holiday cottage firm with more than 400 properties in the county and has had to form a waiting list of people wanting to book.
Abi Charter, the firm's marketing manager, said: "We probably start to have availability from September onwards, but there's definitely nothing over the summer.
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"Every now and again we are experiencing cancellations because people are having to self isolate, and we'll post that on our social media channel and it normally goes within the hour."
Ms Charter said the firm was noticing a difference in the people who were coming to stay at the firm's properties.
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"Our core demographic for Suffolk is anyone within a sort of a two and a half hour drive," she explained.
"But we're finding people are travelling from further afield and when they're here, they want to stay longer because they want to make the most of that time.
"People haven't been on holiday in 18 months so they're having two weeks, rather than three nights like they normally might."
Other tourism bosses are seeing the same thing.
Nick Attfield is director of properties for Adnams. He says the company's hotels and inns are booked until the end of October.
"People in the UK have been cooped up. Lots of people realising they can't go abroad or don't want the risk of going abroad," he said.
"So we've been booked up since Easter time, right throughout the season and have very close to full occupancy levels until the end of October."
Mr Attfield added that the bustling hotels was good news for the pubs in the area.
"There's really strong demand at the moment," he said.
"Everywhere is full and obviously that brings us a great supply of customers looking for different places to eat and drink each day."
However, other businesses on the coast have not been having quite such a good summer.
Jessie Fotherby has been running businesses on the Felixstowe seafront for almost 25 years and now runs the Little Ice Cream company and One29 Cafe Bar.
This summer, she said, had been "good but not wow" so far despite the poor weather and lack of foreign tourists.
In a normal year Suffolk could see around 200,000 visits from foreign tourists.
And in 2019 the overseas visitors spent £355 in the county, bringing their contribution to Suffolk's economy in that year to £51.81million.
But this year, with just 22% of those overseas visitors coming to the UK, the number of Britons choosing to spend their holiday in the country has balanced this out.
"If this was a year when people could go abroad I think that it would be different because the weather's been so poor," Ms Fotherby said.
"I think the reason why we're having a good season is because more people from the UK are coming here."
Along the front from Ms Fotherby's businesses is Ocean Boulevard rides and amusements.
Stan Harris, the owner, has been involved in running amusements since he was "two days old".
"When the weather's good, business is good. It's as simple as that," he said.
"If the beach isn't being used, we're not selling buckets and spades and that sort of stuff.
"But we're getting more visitors come to the resort. I think the staycation means more people are coming to the area who have never been this way before. So that's a positive.
"We've been lucky, we're faring better than a lot of other people so I can't really complain."